Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

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jmichael
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Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby jmichael » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:40 am

Almost the entire Lynch catalog is going to be shown on the big screen in Philadelphia as part of the Philly Film Festival. David will give a talk before the showing of Lost Highway on September 10th.

The full schedule:
September 3rd – Eraserhead
September 10th – Conversation with David Lynch followed by screening of ‘Lost Highway‘
September 17th – Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
September 24th – Inland Empire
October 1st – FILM TBA (Updated 9/6: This will be DUNE)
October 9th – Elephant Man
October 16-26 – ‘From the Vaults’ at the Philadelphia Film Festival celebrates David Lynch. Films include Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story & Mulholland Drive. More information to be announced.

http://filmadelphia.org/events/david-lynch-revisited-a-retrospective-film-series/

A pass to the entire series is $60 or $7 per film.
Last edited by jmichael on Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby jmichael » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:46 am

The talk with Lynch/Lost Highway screening is sold out. You can still attend if you buy a pass for the entire series.

David will also be giving a talk that week at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, at the opening of a new exhibition of his art. The talk is for members at the $150 level or greater only. The exhibit will run through January.

I will be attending both talks (and all the movie screenings) and will report back here. Anyone else going to either?
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby jmichael » Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:17 pm

If anyone is interested, I am going to try and keep a diary of all the events I attend here in this thread. In addition to the events mentioned above, David is also giving a talk at the Free Library of Philadelphia on the 11th, there will be a fan art exhibit in the "Eraserhood", an Eraserhead themed dance party, a series of films that Lynch picked as inspirations to him and a separate art exhibition of his early pieces that are in private hands. (Similar to the exhibit in Reading about a 12 years ago.) Philadelphia is really going all out!

This past Wednesday, I attended the opening night of the Lynch Retrospective - "Eraserhead."

First, the good. The house was full (but not sold out) and the screening was near perfect. The are using 35mm prints for all the films in the series, except The Elephant Man, which is being shown digitally outdoors at a public event. The print was in good condition and it looked stunning on the big screen at the Prince Theater. Better still, the audio was amazing. It was LOUD, baby! I'm sure David would have approved. Seeing it this way, in a darkened theater, was really a different experience than watching it at home. I felt utterly transported and you could feel how rapt the audience was. Big round of applause during the credits.

Now the bad, both of which have to do with the organization of the event. First, though the house opened in plenty of time for everyone to grab a good seat, a snack and a beer, they delayed the start of the film for far too long. It was scheduled for 7:00. At 7:10, someone from the Philadelphia Film Society took the stage to say that in 5-10 minutes she would be introducing the guest speaker who would make remarks before the film, so we all still had time to go get a snack or a drink. Boos from the audience. The guest speaker took the stage five minutes later and gave an off-the-cuff and rambling introduction to the film. A film professor at Temple University, she seemed unprepared. After the film, she led a Q&A that basically consisted of her saying "So...what did you think?" to a silent audience. It got better - I know doing these Q&As can be like pulling teeth - but she didn't ask enough leading questions nor did I feel she put the film in any sort of context. She is not scheduled to do any more of the talks.

Overall, a really great evening at the movies and a fantastic start to Philadelphia's Lynch celebration.

Next week is a big week, with the man himself in attendance! I'll be reporting on his talk and screening of "Lost Highway", as well as his talk and art exhibit at the PAFA. (I'm currently not scheduled to attend his talk at the Free Library. Perhaps someone else will report in.)
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby jmichael » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:40 am

Well, last night was the big night - my first time seeing David in person. He was just fantastic. He seemed very at ease and happy to be there. His hair is utterly amazing in person. A golden wave a top of grey sea.

There were lots of people taking video, so I'm sure that the entire conversation will be on YouTube shortly and I won't go into too much detail. As a long time fan, I wasn't expecting David to make any great revelations about himself or his work and I was correct. That said, even hearing him say things I've heard him say before seemed quite magical. He talked a lot about peace and meditation. He was extremely funny. The first question out of the gate was about the sexual elements of his work and he said: "Sex. Well. You know, we could talk all day about sex" with such a sheepish grin on his face, the whole place cracked up.

A few pieces of information came out or were confirmed during the talk:
*He is not working on putting together a new film.
*"One Dog Bark", a track heard in the FWWM deleted scenes, was pulled from the unreleased Thought Gang album
*For the first time since its original premiere, "Six Figures Getting Sick" is going to be displayed as intended with the film projected onto the sculpture at the PAFA exhibit.

I don't think I can convey into words the feelings I had listening to David talk. I can honestly say that just felt a great sense of joy being around him. Happiness just exudes from him. From the cadence of his voice to his constant, pulsating finger movements, he was hypnotic.

As for the screening of "Lost Highway," it was another winner, though the print was nowhere near as good as "Eraserhead." It's funny to think that for a film twenty years younger than Eraserhead, this print of Lost Highway was in worse shape. Lots of scratches and fading, some moments of muffled sound. On the whole, however, just a joy to see it on the big screen and loud. I don't know that I have ever seen LH in widescreen. I saw it on VHS when it first came out, but I never picked up the long delayed DVD when it finally came out. It makes a world of difference. Like all his films, it is beautifully composed. I still think Mulholland Drive, trading in similar themes, is a better film, but I was engrossed the whole time. I don't know if Robert Loggia has ever been better! And what a soundtrack! I think this is a film where you just have to enjoy the ride and not worry about the destination.

I'll be back with a report on David's PAFA talk and the opening of the exhibition on Friday night. Next week: "Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me"
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby Mb3 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:59 pm

I enjoyed reading your thoughts about the Philly film festival, so please keep us updated about the other movies during the next weeks.
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby jmichael » Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:17 am

Thanks very much, mb3, I'm enjoying writing them.

Friday was another big night. First, let me say that if you can in any way get to Philadelphia before the exhibit closes in January, do so. It is absolutely stunning. This is the second exhibit I have seen of his works and it blows the other one out of the water in terms of scope and presentation. Beyond that, the PAFA Building is gorgeous inside. I've lived in Philadelphia basically my entire life and have not had occasion to go inside before. It was staggeringly beautiful and I'm glad I've become a PAFA member so I can go back and explore the building and its other galleries.

The members-only talk on Friday night drew a standing room only crowd, of course. Again, it was not the smoothest event operationally. There were no tickets given out in advance, you simply registered for the event. That meant on arrival, everyone had to check in. And boy did that make things move slowly. The line started in the lobby at the front door, went up the steps to the second floor and wrapped around the hallway. Complicating matters was the fact that there were two separate events - the members only talk AND the members-only preview of the art show. SEVERAL people assumed because they had registered for the art preview, they were also registered for the talk, which was not the case. Lots of angry, old, confused rich people. It was like being in line with dozens of Dell Miblers.

Regardless, David's talk at PAFA was just as good, if not better, than the talk he gave at the film screening. He spoke with great affection about his time at PAFA and the friends he made there. He reiterated that while he often speaks of Philadelphia as being dirty, sick, violent and corrupt - he loved it and that uneasy mood had a tremendous impact on his development as an artist. He seemed legitimately touched to be given the honor of an exhibit at his alma mater. The talked covered much of the same territory as earlier in the week, with a bit more focus on his fine art over film. Clearly, the trick to doing an interview with David is to get him telling stories, because otherwise he tends to just say "Yes" or "No." He did regale us with some great stories, including one I'd heard before about him trying to preserve a dead mouse in resin...and he just had the audience hanging on his every word. They had some rare slides of his time at the school which was also fun to see.

After the talk, which was held in the newer school building, we went down the street to the historic PAFA gallery. Again, it is simply stunning inside. The Lynch exhibit is on two floors. The main exhibit, which takes up three or four rooms, is on the second floor. On the first floor, in a darkened room lined with black curtains, is a special exhibit of "Sick Men Getting Sick" with the film projected onto the sculpture. Even better than seeing the film as it was meant to be seen is the fact that before you enter, there is a smaller chamber with many of David's preliminary sketches and planning for how to make the film.

In the hallway on the first floor (and on one small television in one of the upstairs galleries), "The Alphabet" and "The Grandmother", both made in Philadelphia, play on a loop.

Each of the art galleries is arranged thematically and it works like gangbusters. The most impressive pieces are the 6ftx10ft works on cardboard. They are just massive and take up an entire wall each. Done with thick, sculpted blobs and making use of large Christmas lights to represent fire, I've never seen anything quite like them. My personal favorite was one called "I Burn Pinecone Throw In Your House." There are pieces from his entire career, starting with pieces done at PAFA all the way through 2013. He certainly is a jack of all trades in the art world - paint, pencil, chalk, pastel, watercolor, ink prints done with stone lithographs, sculpture. You'll see it all and you're sure to see something you like.

At the exit, there are several items for sale, the best of which is a beautiful hardback catalog of the exhibit, very nicely priced at $39. There are high quality photos of all the works in the exhibit, plus several not on display, as well as two essays and a timeline of Lynch's work. It's a must have. Other exclusive items available were a postcard and a limited edition poster for the exhibit. The poster is the most expensive item for sale, coming in at $67. There are also non-exclusives including the LPs and CDs of Krazy Klown Time, The Big Dream and The Air Is On Fire, plus the Eraserhead soundtrack on CD only. The book and audiobook of Catching the Big Fish were also for sale.

If I have one complaint about this week's events, it's that I paid a lot of money to go to the PAFA event ($150 to become a member) and $60 to get a pass to the film series and talk. At neither event did anyone get to meet David. However, at the free event at the public library, David not only spoke, but he greeted people and signed copies of the catalog book. Sadly, this the one event I could not attend. Don't get me wrong - I feel I have totally got my money's worth for both memberships - but it does feel a little disappointing that the the PAFA talk in particular was billed as being very exclusive, but I could have had the chance to hear what I'm sure was a very similar talk AND get his autograph for a lot less money.

Next up: "Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me" on Wednesday night. Hoping for a great print and interesting post-show discussion.
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby jmichael » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:58 pm

One small thing I forgot to mention. I had a minor celebrity sighting at the exhibit. As I was headed towards the entrance to "Six Figures Getting Sick," out from the screening room comes none other than Frederick Elmes, Lynch's DP on "Eraserhead," "Dune," "Blue Velvet," "The Cowboy and the Frenchman" and "Wild at Heart" (Plus many, many classic films not directed by Lynch.) I admit I was too star struck to do anything other than nod hello.
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby jmichael » Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:39 pm

I'll post an update on Fire Walk With Me in the morning, but for now I wanted to share this just released video of David walking through the exhibit.

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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby Fernanda » Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:15 pm

Thank you very much for the updates. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of the screenings.
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby Annie » Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:35 pm

jmichael, thanks for all this!! Wish I could go!
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby jmichael » Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:05 pm

It was a real dream come true to see Fire Walk With Me on the big screen last night. The print was very good - better than Lost Highway but not as good as Eraserhead which remains the best looking of the bunch. The picture was excellent throughout (save for some bad scratches just as we move into Laura's dream picture) - it was stunning on the big screen. The sound was not as good - the dialogue track in particular suffered from some distortion. Nothing distracting, but having just heard the pristine DTS of the Blu-Ray, it was noticeable.

Speaking of the DTS mix on the Blu-Ray, I will confirm it sounds very close to the theatrical mix. The Partyland scenes are barely audible and even with my ears tuned listening for it, I could not hear the monkey say "Judy." (And indeed on the Blu-Ray, I had to crank my volume WAY up to hear it.) The picture on the new disc is also very close to what I saw last night. If anything, I found that the entire Deer Meadow sequence looked a lot cooler (meaning more blue tones) on the big screen. Everything from Laura's first appearance in Twin Peaks until the end looked in line with what they put on disc. Overall, it was the first time I was really struck by how close to the pilot it looks. The scenes with James and Laura on his bike at night could have been cut right from the pilot. It really made me wish that the festival had secured the 35mm print of the pilot to screen. I believe the TP fest has screened it before - possibly even from David's personal print. Having a back-to-back screening of FWWM and the pilot in a movie theater would be outstanding.

Nothing much new struck me about the film, which is probably the film of his I have seen the most, but I loved seeing it. The Partyland sequence is a work of art on the big screen, as is the entire end of the film, from Leland appearing at the cabin to the credits. The silence as the credits rolled was palpable - you could hear a pin drop. As I exited the theater, the girl next to me quickly put a cigarette in her mouth and shook her body with a sigh saying "Man...whenever I see that movie!" and quickly light up.

There was no introduction or talkback at the screening, despite there one being advertised. I'm okay with this, as the first talkback was not good. I was hoping with a different moderator things would be better, but I was also okay with just seeing the movie. Next week the head film critic from the Philadelphia Inquirer is scheduled to talk, so I assume that one will happen. It was an interesting crowd last night. At first, it seemed like it was going to be a mostly empty house, as all the two previous screenings had lines to get in before the doors opened, but this week there weren't more than eight of us waiting to get in at 6:30 for a 7:00 show. However, the house did fill up to about the same size crowd that Eraserhead drew. It was a mostly respectful crowd, with lots of laughs during the Deer Meadow stuff. There was one group of fans sitting in the row in front of me who absolutely guffawed throughout the whole thing. Every time a character from the TV show appeared, they laughed (in...excitement?) and they laughed loud. They howled when Harold came on and they laughed EVERY TIME James spoke. I suppose everyone has their own way of appreciating the show, but I found them distracting.

Next week: Inland Empire. This should be an experience. I have only seen it once on DVD - it never opened in Philadelphia during it's original theatrical release, so this will be it's premiere. I'm very curious how the SD digital video he shot this in looks blown up on 35mm film. I didn't understand IE at all the first time through, so here's to second chances.

If you haven't seen, the hardback book of The Unified Field is up for pre-order on Amazon. It won't be available to the general public until November, though PAFA has limited copies in their shop if you are going to the museum before then. It's a beautiful book and a great way to see the show if you can't make it to Philadelphia.
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby Fernanda » Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:22 pm

Did you notice if the color in the Red Room scene at the end matches the BD transfer?
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby jmichael » Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:56 pm

Fernanda wrote:Did you notice if the color in the Red Room scene at the end matches the BD transfer?


I didn't notice any difference. The only parts that really jumped out at me as looking different were the opening sequences with Chet.
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby Fernanda » Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:03 pm

Thanks. I got used to watching the MK2 transfer and the reds are much more saturated in that one, but then in the Missing Pieces Red Room scenes they look more like the MK2 than the new transfer. Enjoy the rest of the screenings. Cheers.
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Re: Lynch Film Retrospective in Philadelphia Sept/Oct

Postby jmichael » Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:02 pm

Fernanda wrote:Thanks. I got used to watching the MK2 transfer and the reds are much more saturated in that one, but then in the Missing Pieces Red Room scenes they look more like the MK2 than the new transfer. Enjoy the rest of the screenings. Cheers.


I agree. The reds a much more muted throughout in the film print, close to what's on the new disc.

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